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International Journal of Public Health and Clinical Sciences (IJPHCS)
Open Access e-journal ISSN : 2289-7577

HARNESSING SOCIAL MEDIA IN FAMILY-BASED INTERVENTION FOR CHILDHOOD OBESITY: STUDY PROTOCOL FOR RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED FIELD TRIAL OF REDUCE PROGRAMME

Norliza A, Lye M.S, Zalilah M.S, Firdaus M

Abstract


ABSTRACT 

Background: Parents can play an important role in preventing childhood obesity as they can influence their children’s intake and energy expenditure. However, interventions that involve parents more often than not have quite a high rate of attrition. Social media could be a potential alternative to conventional approaches of family-based intervention. This paper describes the study protocol of REDUCE (REorganise Diet, Unnecessary sCreen time and Exercise) programme, a family-based intervention using social media. 

Materials and Methods: This is a two-armed, double-blinded, randomized controlled field trial of theory-driven intervention delivered using social media (REDUCE programme). Parents of children (7 – 11 years of age at recruitment, with a BMI z-score of +1SD or more, without chronic medical illness, or physical and learning disabilities) are eligible to participate if they are computer literate, have access to the Internet, are willing to use social media, and agree to participate in a four week training programme. The primary outcome is the BMI z-score. Secondary outcomes include other adiposity measurements (waist circumference percentile and percentage of total body fat), parents’ mediators (knowledge, healthy behaviour practices, feeding styles and self-efficacy) and children’s mediators (children’s eating behaviour, sugar-sweetened beverages intake, fruits and vegetables intake, unhealthy snacks intake, physical activity and screen time). The assessments take place at baseline, immediately post-training, and at 3-month and 6-month follow-ups. 

Conclusion: This study tests the effectiveness of social media in the management of childhood obesity. If proven effective, this programme may be extended to reach more children.

Keywords: Childhood obesity, Family-based intervention, Social media, Randomised controlled trial, Internet


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